Pole Barns Vs. Quonset Barns: Pros, Cons & Best Designs

Steel Quonset Hut barn with brick endwalls and green tractor in front of it.

Whether you’re looking for a backyard barn or a larger-scale ag building, purchasing a barn can be a worthwhile investment. But what type of barn is the best? We’re here to help you compare some of the key differences between wooden pole barns and steel barns.

What Is A Pole Barn?

The term “pole barn” is a bit of a catch-all used for any agricultural storage building. But many modern farm storage buildings described as a “pole barns” don’t even have a pole. So what is a pole barn and how does it differ from more popular, current agriculture storage?

A pole barn is traditionally a portable building that uses poles throughout the interior to support the roof and walls of the structure. Sizes and the use of foundations vary in different applications, but every pole barn has at least one structural support pole. Pole barns became popular for agricultural use in part because farmers would often construct them on the cheap, using spare materials, relying on the pole to keep the building erect.

While the desire to save money will always be important, new advances in steel and steel building construction have made it possible to build a “pole barn” without the pole while not being expensive. Quonset barns have become a popular choice because they give you everything you love about a pole barn (cost-effective, portable) without having a pesky pole in the way.

Pole Barn Vs. Quonset Barn Cost

A cheaply made and constructed pole barn will always be less pricey than a metal Quonset barn. If your only concern for a barn is the cost, you might be able to throw up a pole barn with materials you already have.

However, a big factor to take into consideration is long-term versus short-term cost. With prices as low as $4 per square foot before construction costs, building a cheap pole barn may sound very appealing, but you will only end up paying more in the long run due to maintenance.

With traditional pole barns, wooden poles are buried in the ground and used as columns for the roof. The walls are made of wood and are nailed into the poles. These wooden poles are vulnerable to rot, pests, moisture damage, and fire. A pole barn that isn’t consistently maintained can be a major eyesore, decreasing the value of your property.

Steel barns are an ideal choice for a long-term investment. While a little more expensive initially, they require little to no maintenance after assembly. This is because SteelMaster uses a coating called Galvalume Plus that helps to prevent rusting and basic wear and tear on the arches.

Differences In Barn Construction

Digging the holes to place the wooden poles in can make the construction process a lot longer, especially depending on the condition and level of the soil. Because poles are buried in the ground, they may shift over time because they aren’t as secure. This can also cause problems with building codes in your area because pole barns are not thought of as permanent structures. SteelMaster’s buildings are typically secured to a concrete foundation, which adds even more strength to the structure.

Additionally, SteelMaster’s metal barns only need one type of nut and bolt to assemble the shell of the building. This makes for a quicker and simpler construction process, saving you construction costs. It also allows buildings to be portable and gives you the flexibility to expand your SteelMaster building at a later date. You can disassemble your existing building, and then reassemble it at another location if you decide to move.

Unlike steel buildings, wood pole barns require trusses to support the ceiling which causes you to lose extra space. Our metal buildings have a 100 percent clear span design, meaning there are no beams or trusses required—you’ll have the maximum amount of storage space in your building.

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